By Sarah Shurge – Many of the events you attended and enjoyed in Wayne throughout 2021 could not have been possible without the City of Wayne Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and you probably didn’t even know it.
The DDA has many purposes, some of which are to correct and prevent deterioration of business districts, promote economic growth and revitalization, and to encourage historic preservation. The goal is to bring business into the City of Wayne and do it in a fun and exciting way for the public.
The DDA has partnered with many businesses and sponsored many events for the City of Wayne. So with the start of a new year, it’s time to bring their involvement into the spotlight and give them the recognition they deserve.
“We have an excellent Board of Directors that has a desire to be creative and think outside the box,” said Lori Gouin, DDA Director.
The DDA Leadership Team consists of: Chairman: David Steinhauer with Professional Insurance, Vice-Chair: Jim Demmer with Jack Demmer Ford, and Secretary/Treasurer: Scott Gocaj with US-12 Bar and Grill. The Board Members are: Vince Law with Law Auto Sales, John Rhaesa the City of Wayne Mayor, and Pier-La’Shaye Walker a City of Wayne resident. The Administration is: Lori B. Gouin the DDA Director and Lisa Kubany the Director of Marketing and Events.
In 2021, the DDA hired Lisa Kubany to serve as the Marketing and Events Director.
Kubany played a huge role in one of the annual events the City of Wayne always looks forward to: Cruisin’ US12.
The 15th annual US12 car cruise looked a little different. On July 10th, 2021, Pit Stops were added throughout Downtown Wayne that included food trucks, activities, and entertainment. The DDA served as a partner with the businesses to help with the organization of all the extra activities.
“The 2021 US-12 Cruise was by far the biggest and best that I have seen since I started in 2016,” said Gouin. “Thanks to our new Marketing and Events Director, Lisa Kubany, many new activities and events were added throughout the Downtown that drew in a whole new potential customer base for our business.”
Another huge event the DDA was involved with was the Downtown Wayne “Makers Market” that opened its doors for business on November 11th, 2021. The purpose of the Market is to support small business, while also providing a unique shopping experience that draws shoppers into the Downtown.
“The whole idea behind this was giving an opportunity for makers in Wayne to grow their business. We [the DDA] hope they can make enough connections to create a customer-base and be able to open up their own business in the city,” said Gouin.
The DDA originally planned on having only ten spots available for makers. However, due to popular demand, the Makers Market has 14 individual makers.
“The new Downtown Wayne Makers Market was by far one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on. It has been a complete success,” said Gouin.
A “Small Business Saturday” event was introduced and hosted by the DDA this year at the Makers Market. The first 100 guests that came through the doors received a shopping bag full of coupons and goodies. Some of the bags had a $50.00 dollar gift card added to them.
On the same day, the DDA also launched the “Passport Program” intended to encourage individuals to visit local businesses, get their passport stamped, and have an opportunity to win some exciting prizes.
During 2021, the DDA did a collaboration with the Wayne Chamber of Commerce and sponsored two Career Fairs held in the downtown that were coordinated and presented by the Chamber. These two events provided opportunities to the public to gain employment at one of many businesses in Wayne.
Another event the DDA sponsored and produced was “Empower Wayne.” Many individuals from the business community gathered for the first-time networking event. The event provided local business owners with an opportunity to get to know one another, share ideas, and business success stories.
The City of Wayne welcomed 23 new businesses in 2021: 24/7 Cleaning Service, Abe Chahrour Investments, Bewinked Salon, Brookies Café, Club Flexx LLC, Comforting Care, Fresh Choice (New Owner), Hair Café, Klassy Kellection, Lucky’s Gourmet Subs, Muffler Dave’s (Extension), O Holistic LLC, On the Spot CPR Training, Owens Automotive, Party with a Tee, Pizza Hut (New location), Premium Holistic, Quality 1 Auto Sales, Tri County Security Cameras, Vonnies World Respite Care, Washington Square Retail, Wayne Beer and Wine, and Weddings by Lama.
“It is very encouraging that the number of new businesses locating in the city has not declined despite the current day challenges. It just shows that Wayne is a destination for many new start-up businesses,” said Gouin.
To get more involved with the business community, Kubany paid monthly visits to different businesses within the DDA District using Facebook Live, and followed up with a feature story. She even provided gift certificates for the business to give to anyone who mentioned that they saw the feature story.
The DDA made a significant investment in 2021 to promote the Downtown through a multi-media Holiday campaign. The six week campaign includes commercials featured on both Wow and Xfinity, web ads, print ads, and a billboard encouraging individuals to “Experience Downtown Wayne.”
Something you have to experience in Downtown Wayne are the Concerts in the Goudy Park. The DDA sponsored a table at each concert. They gave away a $50.00 dollar gift card and movie passes to two lucky winners each week.
Gold Boxes also popped up around Downtown Wayne once again in 2021. Individuals who entered the drawing had a chance to win $50.00 dollars in gift cards for several different local Wayne businesses.
In 2021, the DDA was able to create a relationship with the Knights of Columbus Notre Dame Council 3021. The Knights are located at Notre Dame Hall in Wayne and the land adjacent to the Hall has become an outdoor event space. The Knights are responsible for programming the space and the DDA provides sponsorships for many of the events held at the site.
The DDA also continues to collaborate with the Wayne Historical Society and sponsored the annual Holiday Night at the Museum. On December 4th, 2021, over 600 people gathered in Downtown Wayne to participate in the event. This year, the event was much more than just a tree lighting and seeing Santa. There was a parade, activities, prizes, food trucks, performers, and more.
“The DDA was a proud sponsor of the 2021 Holiday Night at the Museum,” said Gouin.
If you are interested in more information about the Makers Market (which runs through the end of January), or any other event the DDA has sponsored or hosted, please contact Lori Gouin, City of Wayne DDA Director, at (734)722-2002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org